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Current Affairs January 3 2019

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Current Affairs January 3 2019


Govt Releases 6-Crore LPG Connections under PMUY
On 2nd January 2019, the government gave out the 6-crore free cooking gas (LPG) connection as the scheme to make available cleaner fuel in every household kitchens under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).

Govt Releases 6-Crore LPG Connections under PMUYKey points
i. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu handed over papers for an LPG connection to Jasmina Khatoon from Shivpark, Khanpur in New Delhi to mark the 6 crore LPG connections under PMUY.
ii. Under the scheme, the government provides a subsidy of Rs 1,600 to state-owned fuel retailers for every free LPG gas connection that they give to poor households.
iii. The 5-croreth free LPG connection under the scheme was given to Takrdiran, a resident of Sangam Vihar of the national capital, in August 2018 by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
iv.It had covered almost 90% of the Population which is far higher than the 55% of the Population in May,2014.
About Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)
i. PMUY was launched  in May 2016 with tagline of Swachh Indhan, Behtar Jeevan and a target to give 5 crore connections by March 2019.The target was later raised to 8 crore connections by 2021.
ii. PMUY is implemented by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas headed by the Cabinet Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
iii. PMUY was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh with total expenditure of Rs.8000 crore.The launch is followed by launch of the scheme in Dahod in  Gujarat.
iv. Beneficiaries will receive direct LPG subsidy through PAHAL (Pratyaksha Hastaantarit Laabh) digital payment scheme.

Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA): Rs.10,180 crore scheme launched for overall development of farmers of Odisha
On December 31, 2018, Chief Minister of Odisha,Naveen Patnaik, launched a Rs 10,180-crore scheme,for overall development of small, marginal and landless farmers, dubbed as ‘The Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA)’ scheme.

(KALIA) Rs.10,180 crore scheme launched for overall development of farmers of Odishai. This scheme consists of a life insurance of Rs.2 lakh for 57 lakh farmers and would grant them crop loans at zero percent interest.
ii. Also,financial assistance of Rs 10,000 per farmer family per annum to around 30 lakh small and marginal farmers’ families.
iii. Furthermore,Rs. 5000 would be given to farmers for Rabi cultivation and equal amount will be given for Kharif Cultivation.
iv. For landless farmers, a unit cost of Rs 12,500 would be provided for goat rearing, poultry farming, duck rearing, bee keeping and mushroom cultivation.
v. The scheme will be implemented in three phases.In the first phase of the initiative, Rs. 5000 would be disbursed to farmers between January 22 and January 25, 2019.The second phase will be completed by February 15, 2019.
♦ Chief Minister: Naveen Patnaik.
♦ Governor: Prof. Ganeshi Lal.
♦ Lakes : Chilika Lake, Kanjia Lake, Anshupa Lake, Balimela Reservoir.
♦ Dams: Rengali Dam, Kala dam, Pitamahal Dam, Kansbahal Dam, Tikhali Dam, Deras Dam, Salia Dam, Ghodahada Dam, Kuanria Dam.
♦ Festivals: Kalinga Mahotsav, Chandan Yatra, Durga Puja, Konark Dance Festival, Rath Yatra, Diwali, Kumar Purnima

Purchase of new vehicles, ACs banned for government departments: Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath
On December 31, 2018, Chief Minister of the Congress led government of Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath, banned the purchase of new vehicles and air conditioners (ACs) by the government departments due to huge debt of the state.
i. Also, the expenditure incurred on office items has been limited on the basis of the difference between the allocated budget for these expenses in the financial year 2018-19 and the expenditure incurred in the financial year 2017-18.
ii. Although, hospitals, hostels, Anganwadis, shelter homes have been kept out of the purview of the limitations.
According to a report of Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) tabled in the Vidhan Sabha in March 2018, Madhya Pradesh is struggling with a huge debt of nearly Rs 1.83 crore.
Madhya Pradesh:
♦ Chief Minister: Shri. Kamal Nath.
♦ Governor: Smt. Anandiben Patel.
♦ National Parks in Madhya Pradesh: Kanha Tiger Reserve, Madhav National Park, Panna National Park, Bandhavgarh National Park.

Home Ministry approved UP’s proposal of renaming Allahabad as Prayagraj
On January 1, 2019, ahead of the ‘Kumbh Mela 2019’, the Union Home Ministry (MHA) approved the Uttar Pradesh government’s proposal to rename Allahabad as Prayagraj.

Home Ministry approved UP’s proposal of renaming Allahabad as Prayagraji. MHA had earlier approved the renaming of the British-era railway station Robertsgang as Sonbhadra,Farah Town railway station near Mathura and iconic Mughalsarai junction after Deen Dayal Upadhyay — both in Uttar Pradesh.
ii. The Centre had also approved the renaming of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai as Chhatrapati Shivaji ‘Maharaj’ International Airport, earlier.
iii. The Tripura government also got Centre’s approval to change the name of Agartala Airport as Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya Kishore, the erstwhile ruler of the state.
iv. The Home ministry approves any such proposals of name change after consulting various concerned agencies like Indian Railways, Survey of India, Department of Posts etc.

Kerala women form 620-km long ‘wall’ to uphold gender equality against Sabarimala protests
On January 1, 2019, lakhs of women across Kerala formed a 620-km long Women’s Wall,that stretched from Kasargod in northern Kerala to the southernmost district of Thiruvananthapuram,to uphold gender equality and renaissance values.
i. This was a state sponsored move done in the backdrop of protests in Sabarimala due to Supreme Court’s decision to allow women to pray at the Ayyappa shrine.
ii. Health minister K K Shylaja was the lead of the human chain at Kasargod whereas leader Brinda Karat was the last person at the end of the chain in Thiruvananthapuram.
iii. The event was organised by the ruling CPI(M), along with over 176 other socio-political organisations, including the CPI, Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP) and Kerala Pulayar Maha Sabha (KPMS).

WB govt announces two initiatives for farmers
On 31st December 2018, the Mamata Banerjee led West Bengal government announced two welfare initiatives for farmers as a part of the ‘Krishi Krishak Bondhu’ scheme which will come into effect from New Year’s Day i.e. January 1, 2019.

WB govt announces two initiatives for farmersKey Points:
i. Under the first of the two schemes, If a farmer aged between 18 to 60 years dies naturally or unnaturally,the state government will pay his family Rs 2 lakh. The farmers will be able to start applying for the scheme from February 1, 2019.
ii. Under the second initiative, farmers would get Rs 2,500 twice a year for growing a single crop on one acre of land. The farmers will be able to apply for this scheme from February 1, while the amount will be calculated from January 1, 2019.
iii. The West Bengal government has already waived tax and cess on agricultural land to help farmers in distress.
iv. Recently, Odisha government also approved Rs.10,180 crore financial aid to farmers through ‘Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation’ (KALIA) scheme.
v. Recently Jharkhand had also announced a cash assistance of Rs 5,000 per acre to over 22.76 lakh small and marginal farmers across the state.
About West Bengal:
♦ Chief Minister: Mamata Banerjee
♦ Governor: Keshari Nath Tripathi
♦ Capital: Kolkata
♦ National Parks: Buxa National Park, Gorumara National Park, Neora Valley National Park, Singalila National Park, Sunderban National Park, Jaldapara National Park

ISRO launches ‘Samwad’ with students to engage them on space science
 On 1st January 2019, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched a new platform named “Samwad with Students” (SwS) as part of the enhanced outreach programme and to engage youngsters across India to capture their scientific temperament in Bengaluru.

ISRO launches 'Samwad' with studentsKey Points:
i. The first SwS event saw interaction of 40 students and 10 teachers from select schools with ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan during which the students were briefed about Indian space programme and their benefits to the common man at the Anthariksh Bhavan, Bengaluru.
ii. The Q&A session that followed saw Dr Sivan engaging students on a series of topics ranging from rockets, satellites, Chandrayaan, Gaganyaan and various space applications.
iii. The Chairman asked students to study science and mathematics with absolute seriousness which would enable them to take up challenging careers.
iv. Under the SwS platform, ISRO will also be organising guided tours thrice in a year, for students of class 11 and class 12 in which they would be taken to ISRO facilities in Thiruvananthapuram and Bengaluru and the launch centre at Sriharikota. Students would also be taken to space laboratories and would be allowed to make small satellites.
About Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO):
♦ Director: Kailasavadivoo Sivan
♦ Headquarters: Bengaluru, Karnataka


Complaints with bank ombudsman surge 25% in FY18: RBI Report
On December 31, 2018, according to the RBI Report on Trend and Progress of Banking in India, number of complaints registered at banking ombudsman offices has increased to 25% owing to increased awareness and poor internal redressal mechanisms of banks.

Complaints with bank ombudsman surge 25% in FY18i. More than 57% of the total complaints came from the banking ombudsman offices in tier-1 cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
ii. Of all the complaints received at the ombudsman’s offices, 97% of them were resolved in 2017-18, up from 92% in a year earlier.
iii. The topic of complaints were related to non-observance of the fair practices code followed by those related to ATM, credit and debit cards, and for failure to meet commitments and mobile banking.
iv. Bank-wise distribution shows that most complaints received against public sector banks were pension-related while most complaints received against private banks were for credit cards discrepancies.
Other News:
In light of the growing digital banking infrastructure the country, the RBI plans to set up a compliance and tracking system portal to tackle the problem of cyber-fraud under the ombudsman scheme.
About Ombudsman:
♦ Currently, there are 21 functional banking ombudsman offices in the country.
♦ These offices were established under Banking Ombudsman Scheme, 2006.
♦ For a detailed read, refer: Click Here

One-time relief to MSMEs allowed by restructuring debt up to Rs 25 crore by 31st March 2020: RBI
On January 2, 2019, Reserve Bank allowed a one-time restructuring of existing debt of up to 25 crore rupees to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which are facing cash crunch in the wake of demonetisation and GST implementation.
i. The restructuring has to be implemented by 31st of March 2020.
ii. The eligibility for the scheme entails that the aggregate exposure including non-fund based facilities of banks and NBFCs, to a borrower should not exceed 25 crore rupees as on January 1, 2019.
iii. The restructuring of existing loans was permitted to MSMEs that are in default but ‘standard‘ as on 1st of January, 2019, without any downgrade in asset classification.
iv. This means the MSMEs which have defaulted on payment but the loans given to them have continued to be classified as standard assets are eligible for the scheme.
v. Furthermore, a provision of 5% of outstanding loan amount, in addition to the provisions already held, shall be made in respect of accounts restructured under this scheme.
vi. Banks will, however, have the option of reversing such provisions at the end of the specified period, i.e. one year, subject to the account demonstrating satisfactory performance.
On November 19 2018, in its board meeting, RBI decided to examine a scheme for restructuring of stressed standard assets of MSME borrowers with aggregate credit facilities of up to 25 crore rupees.
♦ Founded: 1st April 1935.
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.
♦ Governor: Mr. Shaktikanta Das.


Govt may impose anti-dumping duty on Chinese synthetic rubber
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, is mulling to impose anti-dumping duty for 18 months on a Chinese synthetic rubber ‘fluoroelastomers’ used in automobile and other industries in order to minimize the impact of dumped imports.
Key Points:
i. The proposal in this regard was considered after the investigative arm of Commerce ministry, Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) initiated the probe in January 2018 following a complaint from Gujarat Fluorochemicals which alleged dumping of the product.
ii. The DGTR said that the product has been exported to India from China at below its normal value, which has resulted in dumping and recommended a duty which ranges between $0.078 -$7.31 per kilogram.
iii. The final decision to impose the duty would be taken by Ministry of Finance.
iv. The duty which is imposed under the under the multilateral regime of World Trade Organization (WTO) is aimed at ensuring fair trading practises and creating a level-playing field for domestic producers with regard to foreign producers and exporters.
v. India imposes anti-dumping duty on several products to check cheap imports from countries including China, with which India had a wide trade deficit of $63.12 billion in 2017-18.
About China:
♦ Capital: Beijing
♦ Currency: Renminbi
♦ President:  Xi Jinping
About World Trade Organization:
♦ Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
♦ Director-General: Roberto Azevêdo
About Ministry of Commerce and Industry:
♦ Minister: Suresh Prabhu
♦ Minister of State: C.R.Chaudhary
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi


French World Cup champions awarded Legion of Honour
On 1st January 2019, the players in France‘s football team which last year defeated Croatia to win the World Cup were awarded the Legion of Honour, France’s highest award for “exceptional service” to the nation, in the New Year’s honours list.
Key Points:
i. The football World Cup 2018 at Russia was France’s second World Cup title, after the 1998 World Cup.
ii. Each of the 23 players of French football team, including star strikers Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann, received France’s top medal for their part in beating Croatia in the World Cup final in Moscow.
iii. A total of 402 people, half men and half women were on this year’s winners list.
About France:
♦ President: Emmanuel Macron
♦ Currency: Euro, CFP Franc
♦ Capital: Paris
About Croatia:
♦ Capital: Zagreb
♦ Currency: Croatian Kuna

IIT professor awarded for contribution towards development of geo-spatial science
On 1st January 2019, IIT Roorkee professor Jayanta Kumar Ghosh was felicitated with the National Geospatial Award for Excellence -2017 (Life Time Achievement Award) by the Indian Society for Remote Sensing for his contribution towards the development of geospatial science and applications.
Key Points:
i. The award which carries a citation, a medal and Rs.1,00,000 was conferred to J. K. Ghosh, a professor at the civil engineering department of the IIT Roorkee on 5th December 2018 at SAC (Space Application Centre) Ahmedabad.
ii. The Indian Society for Remote Sensing is an organisation known in the area of space science, remote sensing and geo-spatial technology.

Indian-origin Singapore student wins gold medals at World Memory Championships
On 2nd January 2019, a 12-year-old Indian-origin student Dhruv Manoj from Singapore has bagged two gold medals at the World Memory Championships held in Hong Kong from 20th December to 22nd December 2018.
i. Dhruv Manoj won in the “names and faces” and “random words” disciplines, beating 56 other contestants in the “kids category”.
ii. Dhruv has mastered in the Roman memory technique of creating “memory palaces“, which works by associating the ideas or objects to be memorized with scenes imagined at familiar locations, such as one’s house.


Brazil elected Jair Bolsonaro as its 42nd president
On January 2, 2019, Jair Bolsonaro was sworn in as Brazil’s 42nd president.

Brazil elected Jair Bolsonaro as its 42nd presidenti. Mr Bolsonaro, 63, won the presidential election by a wide margin against Fernando Haddad of the left-wing Workers’ Party.
♦ Capital: Brasilia.
♦ Currency: Brazilian real.

Hemant Bhargava appointed as LIC’s Acting Chairman: Department of Financial Services
On January 1, 2019, the Department of Financial Services announced appointment of Hemant Bhargava, Managing DirectorLife Insurance Corporation of India, as the Acting Chairman.
i. This was done after VK Sharma retired from the position at LIC on December 31.
ii. While, he is a contender for the post of Full-Time Chairman at the state-owned life insurer, his retirement is due in July 2019.
iii. Therefore, the Banks Board Bureau has called eight candidates for interviews for the posts of Chairman and MD on January 4.
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.
♦ Founded: September 1, 1956 under the the Life Insurance of India Act that nationalised the private insurance industry in India.
♦ It is the largest insurance company in India.

P K Singh appointed Competition Commission of India secretary: CCI
On January 1, 2019, P K Singh was appointed secretary of the Competition Commission of India (CCI).
i. Prior to this, he was adviser (law) to the competition watchdog.
ii. After completing 5 years of experience as the adviser to the CCI, according to the norms of the institution, he was chosen as the candidate.
iii. His scope of responsibilities include:

  • acting as the nodal officer for the Commission,
  • making or receiving all statutory information and
  • entering into any formal relationships including signing of memorandums with any foreign agency or other agency with prior approval from Commission and government.

Competition Commission of India (CCI):
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi.
♦ Chairperson: Shri. Ashok Kumar Gupta.
♦ Established: 14th October 2003.

RBL Bank appointed Pankaj Sharma as its chief operations officer
On January 2, 2019, Private sector lender RBL Bank appointed Pankaj Sharma as its chief operations officer (COO).
i. Prior to this, Sharma was heading retail operations of Axis Bank.
ii. Under his leadership, the ATM channel, phone banking and branch automation and digital initiatives at Axis Bank took shape.
iii. He had previously worked with GE Countrywide, ICICI Bank and ICICI Prudential Life Insurance.
RBL Bank:
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.
♦ Tagline: Apno ka bank.
♦ MD & CEO: Mr. Vishwavir Ahuja.
♦ Non-Executive Part time Chairman: Mr. Prakash Chandra.

Justice AK Sikri nominated as Executive Chairman of NALSA by President Kovind
On January 1, 2019, President Ram Nath Kovind nominated Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri as Executive Chairman of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).

Justice AK Sikri nominated as Executive Chairman of NALSA by President Kovindi. His appointment is effective from December 31, 2018.
ii. The post got vacant after the retirement of Justice Madan B. Lokur.
About NALSA:
♦ The NALSA was constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free legal services to the weaker sections of the society and to organise Lok Adalats for settlement of disputes.
♦ The Chief Justice of India is the Patron-in-Chief and the Senior most Judge of the Supreme Court of India is the Executive Chairman of the Authority.
♦  46th Chief Justice of India:  Justice Ranjan Gogoi (as on October 3, 2018)

Saurabh Kumar takes over as chairman of Ordnance Factory Board
On 31st December 2018, Saurabh Kumar, a 1982-batch Indian Ordnance Factory Service officer, took over as the Director General of Ordnance Factories (DGOF) and chairman of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) following the superannuation of P.K. Shrivastava in Kolkata.
Key Points
i. An expert in the manufacturing of ordnance, Kumar is an M-Tech in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur.
ii. He has worked with Ministry of Defence at Delhi as the Director of Planning and Coordination from 2002 to 2009 during which, he was involved in drafting the Indian offset policy for defence purchases and ‘Make’ procedure in the Defence Procurement Procedure of 2003-04, which incorporated recommendations of Arun Singh Committee.
iii. Furthermore he has proved his excellence during his tenure as General Manager of the Engine Factory at Avadi (2012-13) and as General Manager of Ordnance Factory Ambajhari, Nagpur where he spearheaded the modernisation programme and led the production of ‘Pinaka’ rockets.
iv. Saurabh Kumar is currently a member of the Ordnance Factory Board and is looking after Ammunition and Explosive group of factories.
About Ordnance Factory Board (OFB):
♦ Headquarters: Kolkata, West Bengal
♦ Director General Ordnance Factories & Chairman: Saurabh Kumar


10th R R Lakshya Cup: Divyansh Panwar, Nupur Patil win
On 31st December 2018, shooter Divyansh Singh Panwar from Rajasthan and shooter Nupur Patil from Maharashtra have won 10th R R Lakshya Cup 2018 in senior and junior category respectively. Dronacharya Awardee and former National Coach Prof. Sunny Thomas was the chief guest of the event.
Key points
i. The tournament was organised in Lakshya Shooting Club, Karnala Sports Academy, Panvel, Navi Mumbai. The Club was founded by ace shooter Suma Shirur.
ii. R R Lakshya Cup being only a premier invitational tournament, it’s record wouldn’t be count for International records.
iii. The event has prize money of Rs. 1,00,000 in senior category and Rs. 50,000 in junior category.


Veteran Kannada actor CH Loknath passed away at 91
On January 1, 2019, Veteran Kannada actor C H Loknath died at 91.

CH Loknath passed awayi. His acting career spanned almost six decades and he had acted in about 650 movies and performed in over 1,000 plays.
ii. He made his debut in the National award winning movie ‘Samskara’ in 1970.